At basis, and in every medium, I am a storyteller.
I grew up in the late 70s and early 80s in NYC and graffiti artists were my first superheroes. They transformed my world. They were the first to show me the creative potential in everyday objects.
Even today, I am inspired by the surprising material, the under appreciated subject, the alternative perspective, the unlikely surface. I relish working with found and repurposed materials because I am enamored with the story implied in the object. Why was it discarded? What was its former life? Once i have created a painting, portrait, collage, or film using this material, does its previous life speak to its new context in a compelling way? This conversation/tension/relationship between an original piece and a subsequent creative use harkens back to graffiti and hip hop, the garden in which I grew.
I also very often use found footage/visual ephemera in my film and video work, mash technique and genre in unexpected ways. As society and culture gets more disposable I want us to give another look at those things we throw away; I work to find the eternal in the temporary, and to approach life’s problems and conflicts with quirk and humor.
Art is not a luxury
“I make art because I have no choice.
It is the means by which I experience, describe, and share my world.”
Selected stats & honors
Pierre Bennu is an award winning filmmaker, writer, artist and performer. He is the principal creative of Exittheapple, an alternative media and arts company specializing in film and digital media, visual arts, gift books, and music.
Bennu is the author of Bullsh*t or Fertilizer: A Portable Pep Talk (Andrews McMeel, 2003), and a New York Foundation of the Arts Fellowship recipient for his instant classic, the short film KaKuMei (2001). His short animation Larry was selected for the GenArt Film Festival in 2008, and his seminal mashup SunMoonChild (set to music by Imani Uzuri) has been screened and discussed steadily since 2006 from YouTube and Facebook to Duke University and the Smithsonian Institute. His 2003 feature-length mockumentary Red Bone Guerillas was screened at the 2015 Black Star Film Festival.
Pierre and Jamyla are the owners of Oyin Handmade, a line of natural hair and body products; and have been named the Coolest Black Family in America in an ongoing series by Ebony.com. They maintain Exittheapple Artspace, a semi-public creative art space in Baltimore.